Alamos Malbec 2005 Tasting Notes
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Alamos Malbec 2005 Tasting Notes

On my table by great chance, this $11 wine (and I think you can get it for less) pleased me to no end, even though I had no time to decant. The wine is 100% Malbec, from dedicated producer Nicholas Catena in Mendoza in Argentina, culled from the high altitude vineyards of La Consulta, Tupungato, Lunlunta, and Agrelo, aged nine months in 50% each of French and American oak, 25% new.

The wine is a deep purple, nearly opaque. The first nosing gave me black cherry, chocolate and cocoa, the next toast; on the palate this all came through a little richer with more fruit (black raspberry and blackcurrant) and yet a restraint that, working with a 13.5% alcohol level and some emotionally well-balanced tannins, led to a very civilized finish. Could the restrained level of the oaking have something to do with this?

In my self-talk I keep calling this wine a Cabernet, and that is a compliment. Let's not forget that Malbec, called Côt in France, is of French provenance (and still rules the roost in the interesting area of Cahors). I do not want to detract from this wine's own proud Argentine character, but it has a classic Left Bank Bordeaux quality about it, a satisfying smoothness combined with an equally satisfying integrity.

Verdict: Buying a Case
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food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award


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